Each year in May, Vision Sciences Society holds its Best Illusion of The Year contest and this year’s absolute winner was an illusion by Jordan Suchow and George Alvarez from Harvard. Originally called “Silencing awareness of change by background motion” (or shorter “Silencing Illusion”) is something we already talked about few months ago, so in this post I shall concentrate on another piece that made it all the way to the final round.
Created by Gianni Sarcone, Courtney Smith and Marie-Jo Waeber, Venetian mask below holds an interesting secret! Before we begin, I’d like to ask if you notice anything special in it? Observe carefully! Now if I told you how surprising number of people miss noticing that the main component of the mask is actually composed of two distinct faces – a man and a woman kissing one another, how would you react? Apparently, once the viewer discerns two individual faces, his/her brain will flip between two possible interpretations of the mask, making the viewer perceive two faces or one face in alternation. This kind of illusion, where the viewer experiences two equally possible interchangeable stable states in perception, is called bistable illusion. If you weren’t able to see the two lovers, you may find the solution here.